This special issue addresses the imagination of futures 'away from home' in a globalising world. While a growing number of migration scholars have taken into account that migration considerations are always socially embedded and culturally informed, the processes at work among a mounting number of (young) men and women throughout the world, who are convinced that a better life can only be found 'away from home', have been notably understudied. This special issue goes beyond the study of migration aspirations as a question of migration only. It focuses on the specific contexts (in five different countries) within which migration dreams are born, and sometimes even cultivated. It explores the sociocultural embedding of these aspirations by investigating the interpretation of local realities versus global possibilities, and examines how the aspirations of so many worldwide link up to the wider interconnections between globalisation and the sociocultural, political and economic transformations 'back home'. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.